By Mark Laker
This is the training that Karen Laker is using with our young dog Moog, I asked her if she would be happy to write about the training she’s doing to help him understand start-lines. It’s called… WAIT.
Moog does really want to be a good boy and is so willing. It’s actually his willingness that can cause a problem.
He’s willing to get going as soon as I give the signal or maybe he’ll go sooner just to make sure 😊
Training needs to help him understand various things:
- It’s not helpful to me for him to use his initiative;
- Sit/stand/down means do that until given another command;
- Only ‘okay’ or ‘go’ means release;
- He can do things away from me.
Able – to deal with external distractions:
- Other dogs;
- My movement;
- Other dogs moving;
- People talking to me.
Until he is comfortable and confident around these things, it’s much harder for him to stay on the start line. His lack of confidence means he really isn’t able to stop there.
Training includes simple daily confidence building. I never underestimate work revolving around recall and loose lead walking for relationship and calming when out and about.
He is also on CSJ Focus as recommended by Ceri. It has made a difference and I used it previously with Rhyme when he was younger too.
Sometimes an ‘obedience’ style wait can flatten a dog. Although Moog has high drive he is also very sensitive so a strict command could knock his confidence.
Using toys, treats & ground markers I aim to keep him interested and understand that inactivity can be a fun challenge.
Trusted or Trained
For long lasting performance I want a clear and concise routine that he totally gets and will work under pressure. At the moment this looks a long way off. I don’t want to have negative association for him or me on the ultimate routine so I am breaking it down into smaller elements and doing more away from the start.
- Waiting until he’s told to get his food;
- Waiting at every gateway/barrier;
- Positional change away from me towards a toy;
- Being rewarded for staying in a crate/bed while other dogs get attention and do tricks;
- Looking at learning other skills e.g. tracking to gain more understanding and therefore more trust in each other.
With every job that he learns in different way and a different environment his confidence will grow and then we will have all elements in place for that (currently) elusive startline wait.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the games/challenges we’ve used, follow him on #moogstartline or if music appeals to you join his Spotify playlist #moogstay which features amongst others: ‘should I stay or should I go’ and ‘stop in the name of love’.